Four pillars of the information economy..
Identity – who you are
Language – how you communicate
Content/information – what you want or can provide
Interface – how you can procure / provide what you want or can provide
Identity has to be pervasive across the information space. It cannot be mistaken with credentials. Credentials are how one proves who one claims they are. Credentials are a majority accepted baseline. Identity is not. Identity should not change across language, content, or even interface changes. Of the four pillars identity is the constant. Identities are the representatives of actors/entities.
Language is the protocols, the schemas and the data formats that travel across the transports. Event transports are themselves a form of language. tcp/ip, http, rest, json, xml, soap, oci, sql, web-services etc. Identity holders have to understand it, systems have to understand it. Language is also decided by the majority as a baseline. It is also how you describe the information that an entity wants or provides. Languages describe the information, the content, the relevance of the information. They also describe how to get or provide it. Languages also describe the identity of the entities providing and asking for information. Languages evolve over time to describe richer information content, richer interfaces and more descriptive and precise definitions of identity.
Content / Information is the foundation for why Identity, language and the interfaces exist in the information space. It’s the unit of barter and trade. Content is forever changing, in fact it’s the piece that’s in constant change. Some types of information evolve to be entities on themselves, and as such demand their own identities.
Interfaces are what define where to get the information / provide the information and how to get or provide it. Interfaces should not move or change that often, because they provide a reference point to information, or data access points. Of the four pillars, after identities, interfaces should be the ones that change the least. Interfaces can evolve along with the language, though less frequently, they only evolve to describe the semantics of the information they provide/want in a better way to be more precise. They should not change to reflect the source of the information. Sources are irrelevant. Storage is irrelevant. As identities are the sole identifiers of entities requesting or providing data, interfaces are / should be the sole identifiers of information. URIs a form of basic interfaces. Interfaces are typically defined by the providers. The stability and relevance of the interfaces drive the provider’s longevity.
In that sense, storage and compute services should be hidden, irrelevant and always assumed to be there. They are the pieces that constantly change as technology churns. The cost of hiding and the cost of prevalence /the assumption of ever-presence is carried forward by the interfaces as a cost-for-doing-business to the consuming identities. Although that cost was large yesterday and and is large today, it should move toward infinitesimally smaller amounts. The true cost should be in providing constant interfaces and the ability to verify at every point, the identities and whether they have access to the interfaces, and the information/content they seek. And those costs will grow larger and larger over time.
These have parallels to human society and how we interact. The information age just makes these four pillars more apparent yet harder to grasp. But, hopefully, if we don’t lose sight of these four pillars, and strive to excel at how we provide services to cater to all four, we should be in good shape.